Headshell Wiring

Headshell Wiring

How do you wire a turntable headshell? This particular headshell is a standard SME type with a H-4 bayonet mount. In this example, I am using the Numark HS-1 headshell with the Altai HL-HM160 cartridge to show it is wired. This cartridge, also known as Groovetool, uses the widely accepted pinout standard. However, please note that the colouring scheme can vary between manufacturers and models. If you are in doubt, please consult your manual.

Wiring Pin View

If you turn it over you will see four pins on this Altai HL-HM160 cartridge.

Standard wiring diagram.

On the opposite side there are four pins coming out of the H-4 bayonet. In order to wire it properly, my manual suggests that you should install the stylus cover on the cartridge first and seperate the headshell from the cartridge, so that you can see all the pins.


It is a good practice to use coloured wires and adhere to the correct convention for your model and make of turntable. These wires are readily available from record and hi-fi specialists as well as electronics shops. Frequently changing cartridges makes the end-clips loose and they wear out. It is a good idea to replace these wires when the clips get loose.

View Showing Pins

According to my manual, the first step is to position the cartridge and headshell in this way so that you can see the pins for both the cartridge and headshell together.

Wiring Pinout

As you can see, the manual is not in colour and they use different symbols for the wires to represent different colours, but it is straightforward. Assuming you positioned the cartridge and headshell correctly as shown in the first step, you should wire them in the manner shown above. Once the wiring is complete, install the cartridge back onto the headshell, and align the screws to the optimum position mark.

When the cartridge pins are facing the headshell pins, the pinout becomes mirror reversed. The left-side pins on the cartridge connect to the right-side pins on the headshell.

Pinout View

This is how it appears at each end.

Colour Code

ColourChannel Phase
GreenRight Ground -
RedRight Signal +
BlueLeft Ground -
WhiteLeft Signal+
Right side
Numark HS-1 Headshell

The Numark HS-1 is a standard sized headshell that is compatible with other SME type turntables. It uses a standard H-4 bayonet mount that many other manufacturers use as well. I like their turntables becasue it is an American Company founded in Edison, New Jersey, with offices in US, Japan, South America, UK, and Germany.

Non-Standard Cartridges: If you have a cartridge that follows a different pinout and colour code, then the best way to identify the channel pairs is to use a digital meter and measure the resistance or continuity across the pins. In this case, you are looking for a pair of pins with a small resistance or continuity across them. This will indicate that there is a pick-up coil connected across them.